As we come to the end of 2020, this has been a year none of us expected, and a difficult one for many. Amateur radio has been a godsend for many of us to keep in touch. Through lockdown and social distancing, the existing norms have been challenged, and many things are being done differently. It has meant that the Club has also had to adapt and use electronic and virtual means of keeping Club momentum, keeping our members in touch, and providing a way to continue to grow the Club.
We have gained many new members, and we welcome them all. We have also tried to keep in contact with existing members who are shielding, through nets and video coffee chats. We have also tried to give regular updates through our very successful Facebook Group and Club internet site.
Although the national vaccine programme has now got under way, it is going to be some months until many of us are confident enough to start face to face meeting again. Our programme for the first three months of 2021 reflects this, where we again have a programme based around Zoom meetings. We have tried to span as many interests in the club as possible – we are a trying to be a Club for all.
So, mark your diaries – this is what the MKARS Committee has arranged for the next few months.
On Monday 11th January we kick off the year with a Club Members Round Table – ‘What would you like to see the Club doing in the year ahead?’ Come and chat with the Committee and make suggestions about what you want more of, what we should do less of and what new things should we do.
On Monday 18th January sees us start our Special Interest Group in Home Construction – this is a group for those active in homebrewing who want to improve their skills and learn from each other. It is through this group we hope we can develop a club-based construction project.
Monday 25th January sees us welcome Steve Clements, G(W)1YBB to give us a talk on ‘My adventures with Contesting’. Some of you will know that Steve is one of the leading contesters in the UK, a superlative portable contest operator, who runs the UK Contesting Facebook Group.
On the 8th February have a talk from Steve Shorey, G3ZPS, on ‘Classic ham radio gear and why some of us are keen to restore it and keep it going’. Steve is a UK authority on refurbishing and restoring ‘classic’ equipment (see his website www.g3zps.com) and this should be a fascinating talk.
On 15th February we have a CW interest night for our CW learners. After several sessions by Will, G1YYU last year, we have now progressed to the sending and copying stage. We’ll start the process a recap, and then get into some code reading.
On 22nd February we are set to have a very interesting talk from Bill Coombes, G4ERV on ‘Battery Technology for QRP Portable Operation’. Bill is an accomplished speaker on battery selection and maintenance for ham radio applications and has talked at the RSGB convention and the GQRP Club.
Further talks and activities for March are presently being arranged. On a more positive note, given the nation-wide vaccine programme, we are going to plan for entering NFD’s as a Club this year together from mid-year and also for holding the MKARS rally in August 2021.
I look forward to welcoming you all to these Club talks, events and activities. Our Club nets continue, together with our coffee chat sessions into the new year. For those who are interested in contesting, in 2020 we had our best season ever with our home-grown talent, and we will also continue the contest group ‘get-togethers’ on the last Thursday of the month led by Tim G6GEI.
Let me wish you all, on behalf of the Club Committee, all the very best for 2021 for you and your families and may our fantastic hobby, supported by MKARS, contribute to your health and happiness in the year ahead.
MKARS Chairman 2020/2021.
Tim Cowell, Johanne Fludgate and 7 others
Seen by 89